Ruth Lavonne Harper (1922 - 2016)

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Ruth Lavonne Harper, 94, of Biddeford, Maine, passed away Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016 at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House. Ruth was born March 9, 1922 in Sioux Rapids. Her early years were spent in Audubon. Following graduation she entered nursing school at Iowa Methodist Hospital, graduating in 1943.
After the U.S. entered World War II, she enlisted in the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant. She served her country until meeting and marrying Eugene Harper. In 1945 she had a son, Donald.
Ruth had many jobs in her lifetime. She was a surgical nurse, school nurse and spent 10 years as a coordinator and instructor of nursing at Iowa Western College.
In 1971 she became the in-service director of Myrtue Memorial Hospital in Harlan.
In 1974 after the death of her beloved parents, she moved to Audubon, where she continued nursing at the Friendship Home. She retired from nursing in 1988 but continued volunteering at the nursing home for many years to come. Ruth loved traveling and spent many years seeing the sights of Europe and the U.S.
After spending every summer with her family in Maine, Ruth finally moved to Biddeford permanently in 2009. She became and active member of The Church on the Cape and participated in many of their activities well into her nineties. Ruth was an accomplished seamstress and quilter and spent many an enjoyable Tuesday with the quilting ladies in Cape Porpoise. She also enjoyed reading, and once a week, made a trip to the Cape Porpoise Library to pick up new books.
Ruth felt it was her mission to brighten the lives of people she didn't personally know. She sent out hundreds of cards as part of the church's Ministry of Caring program. She was an active member of the P.E.O., the American Legion, and the hospital auxiliary in Audubon.
Ruth was a loving mother and grandmother. She is survived by her son, Donald Harper and his wife Julie; Granddaughters: Tasha Harper, Tammy Harper and Kathy Smith; Grandsons: Christopher Oliver, his wife Cheryl, great-grandson Connor and great-granddaughter Christina, Jeffrey Harper and his wife Angela; and a cousin, Dennis Thornburg and his wife Janis of Red Oak.
Special thanks go to Dr. Merrill Farrand: the caring staff of Gosnell Memorial Hospice House; Pastor Ruth Merriam; Rev. Pat MacHugh, and a special thanks to Susan Basford, R.N., whose visits meant so much.
A memorial service was held to celebrate Ruth's life at the Church on the Cape on Sunday, Oct, 9, 2016. To share condolences online, please visit In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to the Church on the Cape, 3 Langsford Rd., Cape Porpoise, ME

Published in AUDUBON COUNTY ADVOCATE JOURNAL from Oct. 14 to Oct. 21, 2016
bullet U.S. Army bullet World War II